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Vestibular entrainment of sympathetic nerve activity by low-frequency sinusoidal acceleration in the horizontal plane

      Our laboratory has recently shown vestibular modulation of sympathetic nerve activity at low frequencies induced by sinusoidal galvanic stimulation (sGVS); however, the involvement of the semicircular canals and the otoliths in this modulation remains to be elucidated. We aimed to assess modulation of sympathetic nerve activity to body sway at low frequencies using a novel motion platform methodology to omit activation of the semicircular canals. Healthy subjects were seated on a motorized platform moving in the horizontal plane at a frequency of 0.08 Hz, moving back and forth (along the X axis) or side to side (along the Y axis) for 130 cycles. Simultaneous microneurographic recordings of either muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA, n=3) or skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSNA, n=3) were obtained from the common peroneal nerve via a tungsten microelectrode inserted through the skin. Preliminary cross-correlation analyses revealed two peaks of modulation for both MSNA and SSNA per cycle, similar to our previous observations during sGVS at 0.08 Hz. We have extended our previous findings by showing entrainment of MSNA and SSNA by sinusoidal acceleration in the horizontal plane along the X axis and the Y axis. Furthermore, since the motion platform only allows movement along the horizontal plane and does not involve postural movement, we can conclude that utricular afferents, and not the semicircular canals, are being activated; hence, modulating sympathetic outflow during vestibular activation.
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